MILWAUKEE - On a Saturday evening in early November the Raptors picked up their first road win of the season, defeating the Bucks in Milwaukee for the first time since 2008, the last year in which they qualified for the playoffs. Air Max 270 React Soldes . Its been a long and unpredictable campaign that has ultimately led them back to Wisconsin, where five months later they would make history on the same court where it all began. With their 102-98 victory at Bradley Center on Saturday, the Raptors picked up their 21st road win of the season, a franchise record, also assuring theyll finish the year with a winning record away from home for the first time in team history. The Raptors have exceeded every expectation since that first game in Milwaukee but the most surprising notch on their belt may just be the success theyve enjoyed on the road, an unlikely strength for a young and inexperienced team. "Even the veteran teams I had in Dallas and Seattle, it was tough to win on the road," Dwane Casey said. "Our focus has been good on the road for whatever reason. We keep the same routine, we try to make sure our travel is efficient, which is sometimes hard to do, so guys can get rest." Some of their finest moments have come away from the Air Canada Centre. Their second road triumph came in Memphis, Rudy Gays return to his old stomping grounds, a game Toronto won by 16. Just over a month later, Gay now in Sacramento, they overcame a 19-point deficit to defeat Dallas in overtime only to knock off the Thunder in Oklahoma City two days later, a character-building trip for the emerging Raptors. Theyve won a couple contests in Chicago and stolen one in Brooklyn, thanks to a clutch steal and late-game jumper from Patrick Patterson. Even with those victories in mind, the one that sticks out above the rest came against a Lakers team - now sitting near the bottom of the Western Conference - in Los Angeles on a Sunday evening in December. Mired in a five-game losing streak and undermanned after a franchise-altering trade, the Raptors spoiled Kobe Bryants long anticipated return to the court. That was the night they adopted the us against the world mentality that has stuck with them. With the cards stacked against them, they came together in a special way and just a few days later they would add four veteran pieces to a puzzle that was suddenly falling into place. "We keep everything together," said Greivis Vasquez, shortly after matching a season-high with 26 points and setting a new career mark with six three-pointers on Saturday. "Great chemistry, healthy locker room, great work ethic, were so connected to each other. This is a unique team." For all those impressive road victories on the resume, their 21st was rather forgettable. As Casey stood in front of the media, fuming after a narrow victory over the leagues worst team, the season flashed before all of our eyes. Look how far theyve come. They had just won their third straight, sixth in seven games, and their head coach could not get past their horrid first half. "The first half, we played like crap," he said. Harsh but true. "Theres no nice word you can put to it. We talked about it at halftime and after the game, we cant approach the game that way, its not acceptable for where we want to go and what we want to do. If we want to be average, fine, but to get where we want to go, to be a playoff calibre team, weve got to perform better than that. Doesnt matter if its Indiana or a high school team, it doesnt matter." He wasnt just blowing smoke. The first half was bad, real bad. Following a couple of inspired home wins over quality teams in Houston and Indiana, the 14-win Bucks shot 59 per cent in the opening 24 minutes, outscoring Toronto 38-14 in the paint and led by nine at intermission. "Our approach was not good, terrible," admitted Vasquez. "Were better than that and we understand that. We talked about it at halftime. Coach jumped on us and we reacted pretty well. In the second half we came to play. Thats the real Toronto Raptors." Toronto opened the second half on a 17-4 run to regain the lead minutes into the third quarter. They flipped the switch, something good teams do, and yes, the Raptors have become a good team. DeMar DeRozan scored 15 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, where he attempted eight free throws after failing to get to the line in the first half. Expectations have changed. The good news is no one is shying away from them. "We cannot have excuses," Vasquez said. "A team thats going to the playoffs, playing to win a division cannot have excuses. If you talk to Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, they will tell you how it is. Were trying to get there. Its going to take us a little time. But we got the win. Ugly, pretty, it was a win and we need to learn from this game. Weve got to understand that weve got to approach games differently. These five games we got left, weve got to run the table." Lowry, Johnson sit out Kyle Lowry missed his third straight game with a bruised left kneecap, while Amir Johnson sat out nursing a sore right ankle. Although both starters were with the team in Milwaukee - Johnson even took jump shots on the court ahead of the game - Casey opted to rest his ailing players with three days off before their next contest, at home to Philadelphia on Wednesday. "We need them we want them but wed rather not risk their health, more than anything else," the Raptors coach said. Although theyre making progress, Casey thought it best to sit them as a precaution, avoiding further injury, on Saturday. Theyre both considered day-to-day and will likely be questionable for Wednesdays game. The stat After a stellar performance against Roy Hibbert and the Pacers on Friday, Jonas Valanciunas scored 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, recording his team-leading 22nd double-double of the season against the Bucks The quote "Ive been in locker rooms, man, I know how it is," said Vasquez, speaking on the teams chemistry. "Egos, money, its none of that here. None of that nonsense. Were just playing great basketball and were happy for each other. This is a real team." Air Max 270 Pas Cher Chine .Y. - Lou Williams scored 21 points and the Toronto Raptors beat New York 81-76 on Monday night in the Knicks preseason home opener. Air Max 97 Pas Cher Chine . -- At the beginning of training camp, Andrew Bogut set a goal to play all 82 regular-season games and regain his place among the NBAs best centres.Aaron Finch hit 74 off just 47 balls as Gujarat Lions eased to a five-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab in their first IPL match. The Aussie opener was in cruise control for much of his innings but was still able to strike 12 boundaries in a man of the match performance.He was pushed close for the award by West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo who took 4-22 as the Lions restricted Kings XI to just 161-6 and, in doing so, became the leading wicket-taker in T20 history usurping Lasith Malinga.Kings XI got off to a flying start as opening pair Murali Vijay (42) and Manan Vohra (38) took the attack to the Lions bowlers. The Inside the IPL panel discuss the Gujarat Lions first win in the IPL; a five-wicket victory over Kings XI The pair smashed 52 from the powerplay with Vijay, in particular, looking in fine form. The India international expertly finding the gaps to pick up a number of boundaries through the offside.Vohra was just beginning to get into his stride, sweeping Ravindra Jadeja powerfully into the stands for his second maximum. However, the spinner had the last laugh as he dismissed the 22-year-old the very next ball, an inside edge onto his pads looping up for Dinesh Karthik to take the catch.Jadeja struck again in his next over, pegging back Vijays leg stump as the batsman backed away trying to give himself room to hit over the offside. Aaron Finch led Gujarat Lions to a straightforward win over Kings XI That brought Kings XIs two most dangerous batsman together - David Miller and Glenn Maxwell - but the partnership was short lived as Bravo bowled both men in the space of three balls in the 12th over. Vapormax Flyknit Soldes. Maxwell was yorked as he looked to make room for himself before a brilliant slower ball deceived Miller, dipping under his bat and clattering into the stumps.Marcus Stoinis (33) and Wriddhiman Saha (20) did their best to move things along but after both hauled out in the final over, to give Bravo his third and fourth wickets, Kings XIs total of 161-6 looked well below par.However, Gurajats reply got off to an inauspicious start with Brendon McCullum gone for a second ball duck in the first over, stumped by Saha off the bowling of Sandeep Sharma. The Lions soon got into their stride though as Finch and Suresh Raina made the most of the powerplay, both players happy to rotate the strike and quick to punish the bad balls.Raina went for 20 in the final over of the powerplay but Finch continued to ease his way through the innings, showing superb touch and timing rather than the brute force he is usually associated with.Alongside Karthik, Finch brought the required rate down to less than a run a ball and by the time he was stumped off Pardeep Sahu in the 12th over, victory for Gujarat was all but secured.There was still time for Mitchell Johnson to show off his foot skills to run out Jadeja (8) and then dismiss youngster Ishan Kishan (11) before Karthik (41 not out) and Bravo got the Lions over the line with more than two overs to spare.Watch continued coverage of the IPL on Sky Sports, with the next live action seeing Royal Challengers Bangalore take on Sunrisers Hyderabad from 3pm on Sky Sports 1 on Tuesday. ' ' '
MANCHESTER, England - Mario Balotelli sparked a dramatic fightback by Liverpool and Chelsea needed a late own goal to edge past plucky fourth-tier opposition as the two Premier League giants squeezed into the League Cup quarterfinals. Blazers Jerseys 2021 .Late goals settled four of the five last-16 matches on Tuesday — and two were scored at Anfield as Liverpool came from behind to beat Swansea 2-1.Balotelli, criticized in recent weeks for a string of below-par displays, inspired the comeback by coming off the bench to score an 86th-minute equalizer before Dejan Lovren headed in the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time.Finally! Balotelli said on Twitter after scoring his first goal in six weeks and only his second for Liverpool since joining from AC Milan in August.A patched-up Chelsea lineup looked like being taken to extra time by Shrewsbury, a team 71 places below it in English footballs pyramid, only for Jermaine Grandison to head into his own net after 81 minutes to seal a 2-1 win for the Premier League leaders.Didier Drogba had given Chelsea the lead in the 48th, with the 36-year-old striker scoring for the third straight game and just two days after netting at Manchester United in the Premier League.It was a difficult pitch and difficult weather, said Drogba, one of four Chelsea starters who also began the 1-1 draw against United. They were a fantastic team and opponent — they showed why they deserve to be here tonight.West Bromwich Albions decision to field a virtual reserve team against second-tier Bournemouth backfired in a 2-1 loss for the upset of the round.Derby and Sheffield United, who play in the second and third tiers respectively, also advanced on Tuesday.Manchester City and Tottenham are among those looking to reach the last eight on Wednesday.Balotelli started on the bench against Swansea but was thrown on by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in the 79th minute after Marvin Emnes volleyed the visitors into the lead. Within seven minutes, Balotelli guided home a cross from Fabio Borini to equalize.Swansea defender Federico Fernandez was shown a red card in the second minute of injury time for a foul on Philippe Coutinho, who provided the cross from a free kick that Lovren headed in at the back post for a last-gasp winner.Chelsea remained unbeaten in all competitions this season — and reached the last eight of the League Cup for the fourth straight season — but only after surviving a scare against the lowest-ranked team left in the competition.Drogba has starred in the absence of injured fellow strikers Loic Remy and Diego Costa, scoring against Maribor in the Champions League last week, at Old Trafford on Sunday and again against Shrewsbury when he swept home a left-footed finish from Mohamed Salahs pass.Shrewsbury equalized in the 77th minute through Andy Mangan but was on level terms for just four minutes, as substitute Willians teasing cross was diverted in by Grandison.I was ready for extra time, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said.There was late drama, too, at Bournemouth, which reached the quarterfinals for the first time thanks to Callum Wilsons 86th-minute strike. West Brom had equalized just a minute earlier from an own goal.By scoring five times in 20 minutes, Derby came from 2-0 down to beat Fulham 5-2 away in a match between two League Championship teams. Sheffield United beat fellow third-tier side MK Dons 2-1. Rod Strickland Jersey .A. Happ capped a challenging season with one of his best efforts of the year. Cliff Robinson Jersey . -- Having already fallen behind because of the NFL lockout, Blaine Gabbert couldnt afford a lengthy holdout.HOUSTON -- Jadeveon Clowney was on the field with the Houston Texans as they opened camp on Saturday. But the No. 1 overall pick in this years draft was limited as he continues to recover from surgery to repair a sports hernia. Clowney, who had surgery on June 12, participated in the majority of the drills as Houston started camp with a 2 1/2-hour practice on Saturday morning. But he was held out of 11 on 11 drills late in the workout. The first workout was open to the public and fans cheered as Clowney trotted onto the field for the start of practice. Others squealed and yelled his name as he walked off of it and he flashed a big smile before first taking a second to pull his flowing dreadlocks, which were drenched in sweat from the workout, away from his face. He said hes feeling better, but isnt 100 per cent yet. Despite that Clowney didnt appear to be slowed by the injury and moved around well during practice. He said its up to the trainers if hell be able to take part in drills when the Texans move from shorts and shells to full pads in a few days. "Im just taking it one day at a time," Clowney said. "Im just letting the trainers take it one day at a time and try to come back and get back for the first game." The Texans open the preseason on Aug. 9 at Arizona. Coach Bill OBrien said hell let the trainers decide how much Clowney will do and when. "Weve got the best when it comes to that," OBrien said. "We do that and these guys are edgy, they want to get going, but its a long season. So we bring them back at their pace. When theyre ready to go, theyll go." The 6-foot-5, 266-pound former South Carolina standout is moving from defensive end to outside linebacker in defensive co-ordinator Romeo Crennels systemm and believes the transition is going well. Gary Trent Jersey . "Im feeling very comfortable, but Ive still got a lot of work to do," Clowney said. "Just keep getting better and better each day." Hell pair with 2012 Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt to beef up Houstons already solid pass rush. Clowney had 130 tackles, 24 sacks, 47 tackles for losses and 20 quarterback pressures in a three-year career at South Carolina. He also caused a school-record nine fumbles and deflected seven passes. The 21-year-old also set a South Carolina record with 13 sacks in 2012. Watt said hes eager to see how Clowney and the rest of Houstons rookies perform in camp. "Training camp is a good time for rookies to get their feet wet," Watt said. "Once we finally put the pads on, it will be a good opportunity to see how they perform in a situation like that. So it will be exciting." Clowneys still soaking in the fact that he now gets to play with people he watched over the past several years. "Its very exciting," he said. "It was exciting the first time I got out here with the guys I looked up to coming into the NFL -- J.J. Watt, Johnathan Joseph, D.J. (Swearinger), guys like that on my team I just I looked up to before I got here. So now that Im here with them, its even better." Clowney missed Houstons three-day minicamp because of his surgery, but got going early by participating in Houstons off-season workouts leading up to that camp. He feels as if that helped him improve since he was drafted in May. "Im a lot better than where I was," he said. "Ive learned a lot of the playbook already. Coach already said that we look good out there, so weve just got to keep pushing." ' ' '